Proverbs 18:21 says “the tongue has the power of life and death”. Oh my. Consider how many words a woman usually speaks in just one day, and you can see the potential for disaster!
It took me a couple decades to really understand this fact. The words spoken by a wife to her husband can either build him up and give him confidence to step up and be an even better man…or her words can tear him down to the point that he emotionally withdraws from her and doesn’t try to accomplish much of anything because he believes he’s a failure.
What kind of words are you speaking to your husband? Are you his biggest cheerleader? Do you intentionally encourage him every single day, or do you give in to the temptation to point out his many flaws on a regular basis? He NEEDS you to believe in him and encourage him. By the way, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t hold him accountable or put boundaries in place if he is actively sinning against you. However, even then, you can address sinful behavior with an attitude that is loving and hopeful. You can still let your husband know that you see something good in him.
You likely know your husband better than anyone. As his wife, you’re also called to be your husband’s helper. This is made clear in Genesis 2:18 when God said “It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him”. Then God created woman! Well, one of the many ways you can truly “help” your husband is to gently, humbly and lovingly voice your concerns when your husband is clearly heading off course in some area of his life.
Is your husband drinking more and more alcohol? Is your husband spending increasing overtime hours at work to the detriment of his health or family time? Is your man overly busy and unable to squeeze in any time for exercise? Is your guy coming up with reasons why he can’t make it to church lately?
If you see your husband’s life getting out of balance, you can do two things. First, pray that the Holy Spirit would convict your husband about his decisions or behavior and that the Holy Spirit would make your man aware of the correction he needs to make. Secondly, ask God if He wants you to gently bring up the concern for discussion with your husband.
Take a lower physical position than him (such as kneeling beside him while he sits on the couch). This position comes across as very humble and gentle and he will likely become less defensive.
Tell him some things you really appreciate and admire about him, and say “I am for you”.
Tell him something like “I’m in this with you. I’m your partner. How can I help you?”
You might also say “I’m struggling with some stuff too (tell him about your own struggle) so maybe we can help each other”. When you display humility, he will likely be much less defensive about the concerns you’re raising.
Want to improve your communication interactions with your husband? Well, maybe it would help if you understood three things that really matter to most men when it comes to communication. Here they are:
1) Most husbands prefer that their wife be direct in stating what they want or need. They don’t respond to hints. They don’t want to have to read between the lines or try to read your mind. They just want you to come right out and state what you want or need…and it helps if you can state your needs calmly, without a lot of drama or intense emotion.
2) Most husbands want you to keep it simple and short. They don’t want long explanations or fascinating details. Their minds begin to wander after about 30 seconds! So get to the point quickly. Ecclesiastes 5:3 is a good reminder. It says “Many words mark the speech of a fool“.
3) All husbands need their wives to be respectful, both while talking and while listening. This is Biblical. Ephesians 5:33 says “the wife must respect her husband“. This means speaking to your husband in a respectful tone and making sure your body language and facial expressions show honor. No eye-rolling! It also means that you listen attentively when your husband is speaking to you, and you refrain from interrupting him, finishing his sentences, or correcting him. Oh, and one more thing. It means you let him have a few moments to unwind when
You might recall the opening theme to the original Superman TV series. The announcer proclaims that Superman is “faster than a speeding bullet”. Well, God has been showing me how a part of me is also faster than a speeding bullet….and can cause as much damage as a live round of ammunition. That part of me is my mouth!
You may have the same challenge as me. Do you often get impatient when your husband is trying to express himself and end up finishing his sentences? I do. Do you interrupt your husband when he pauses mid-sentence? I do. Do you sometimes jump in and tell him how he should handle something as he’s trying to explain a challenging situation? I do. Do you get frustrated with him and react with harsh, disrespectful words that you can’t take back? Hmmm.
Let’s pray that God would give us the ability to be good listeners, patient talkers, and respectful communicators! This is definitely God’s will for us, as revealed in James 1:19: “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry…” The first step is to coach ourselves at the beginning of conversations with our husbands. Remind your soul…”I will honor the Lord and my husband by listening quietly and responding respectfully”…”listening quietly, responding respectfully”…”listening quietly, responding respectfully”…(repeat as necessary!!).